Dad convicted of fracturing baby daughter’s skull
A young man who was convicted of an assault on his own seven-week-old daughter, fracturing her skull, has been told to expect a prison sentence.
John James Robinson, 23, was found guilty of assaulting the baby girl while she was left in his sole care, Teesside Crown Court heard.
The baby was found “floppy” and not breathing properly when an ambulance was called to her East Cleveland home.
Prosecutor Richard Bennett said the child “looked dead”, white, not crying or responding.
She had a double fracture to the skull, including a significant depressed fracture to the left side, with bleeding on the brain and bruising to her face and left arm.
She was taken to James Cook University Hospital with life-threatening injuries in the early morning of October 18, 2014.
Happily, she made a complete recovery.
Jurors heard her injuries were consistent with being shaken and her head brought into contact with a hard object with significant force.
Agreed medical evidence stated there was no accidental explanation.
Robinson denied any assault, saying he volunteered to take care of her while the mum was in bed after the baby brought up her milk twice.
He told the court he was feeding and winding the baby in the living room when she “flopped back”.
He said he had no reason to worry or think anything had happened to her before the collapse.
His barrister Kate Dodds said: “Someone has hurt her… Were you responsible for causing any injuries, not necessarily deliberately?
“Have you lost your temper, been too tired to look after her properly, got frustrated?”
Robinson said: “No. I can manage tiredness.
“I don’t even know where the injuries came from myself.”
Cross-examining, Mr Bennett suggested the father was “tired and irritable” between 3.30am and 6am.
“No that’s not the case,” said the defendant.
Mr Bennett suggested Robinson shook her or threw her down, fracturing her skull.
Robinson denied this, saying he could not explain the injuries.
He denied he hit her, threw anything at her or dropped her by accident, but agreed the child was in his sole care.
Four days earlier, an ambulance was called to the home to find the child with a slight bruise to her left eye, again when in the dad’s care.
Paramedics checked her and found no sign of serious injury.
Robinson said he believed he had accidentally dropped a remote control on her.
He told the jury he left the girl sleeping in a car seat near him in the living room as he watched TV.
He said he drifted off to sleep on the sofa, awoke to hear his daughter screaming and saw the remote control, which had been with him, on the floor.
Robinson, of Byland Road, Skelton, was cleared of causing grievous bodily harm with intent.
Jurors convicted him on the alternative lesser charge of causing grievous bodily harm by a 10-2 majority after just over three hours’ consideration.
Judge Sean Morris adjourned sentencing until September 18, saying: “I’ll order a report. He can have bail in the meantime and put his affairs in order.”
He told Robinson, who had denied both charges and had no previous convictions: “This is a very serious matter.
“And you should expect a custodial sentence.”
He thanked the jury, telling them: “I want more information on this lad before I decide on what to do.
“On the guidelines it appears that a custodial sentence is inevitable, but we shall see.
“Fortunately the good outcome of this case is the little girl is fine. Let’s all leave the court with that in mind.”